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Provocation bill gets unanimous support

Hon Simon Power
Minister of Justice

19 August 2009
Media Statement

Provocation bill gets unanimous support

A bill that abolishes the partial defence of provocation passed its first reading on a unanimous vote in Parliament last night.

Justice Minister Simon Power told Parliament the Crimes (Provocation Repeal) Amendment Bill bill was not a knee-jerk reaction to recent trials and had been under detailed scrutiny for several years.

"This Government considers the partial defence of provocation is fundamentally flawed.

"It effectively provides a defence for lashing out in anger, not just any anger but violent, homicidal rage.

"It rewards a lack of self-control by enabling an intentional killing to be categorised as something other than murder.

"It also enables the accused to besmirch the character of the victim.

"At a time when the Government is attempting to send the strong message that people must find ways other than violence to manage their anger, it is inappropriate and undesirable that anger be singled out as an overriding mitigating factor that justifies conviction for manslaughter rather than murder."

Mr Power said repeal of provocation would not preclude self-defence being raised in appropriate cases.

"If a person or someone else is under attack, they will be able to use reasonable force to repel the threat."

The bill will be considered by the Justice and Electoral Select Committee, and is due to be reported back to the House on October 19.

Mr Power expects it to be law by the end of the year.


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